Only Connect: The real secret to influencer marketing
What is influencer marketing? Is it Selena Gomez promoting Coach on Instagram? Or Roger Federer celebrating with Moet & Chandon on Twitter? While it’s tempting to yell “NO!”, I’ll settle for a conditional “not quite.” Because influencer marketing and celebrity endorsement are very different, but related, aspects of the social media marketing landscape.
Celebrities are influential — nobody can deny this — and celebrities with large social media followings are very aware of the power of their influence. Selena Gomez, with 122m social media followers, charges in the region of US$550 000 for just one post.
Celebrity endorsement isn’t new. In the 18th century, marketers in England would vie to be appointed to a royal house. Why? The royal crest added lustre and perceptual value to the merchants’ products. Two centuries later, cigarette brands used comedians, movie stars and sports heroes to endorse products — ‘influencer’ marketing was already in full swing.
All that’s changed now is the channel. But the terrain has become a lot more tricky. Today, brands face sceptical and distrustful social media users (millennials, Gen Y and Gen X) who are savvy to blatant marketing of products, even by their heroes.